There are lots of people who don't believe the wage gap between men and women really exists. And then there's Pope Francis.
On Wednesday, Pope Francis used his high profile platform to make the world realize that equal pay for equal work benefits not only women, but also families.
While making audience Wednesday at the Vatican, Pope Francis called the gender pay gap a "pure scandal" in remarks on marriage and family.
A pure scandal!
He also said it is wrong to blame the troubles of modern marriage on women's liberation. Rather he said that economic stresses are a bigger problem for marriages. Those stresses could be lessened if women were paid fairly. He is so right!
This morning, I heard a radio host speak about how her friend became a boss and realized that the men in his department were paid more than the women for the same job responsibilities. He was disgusted and asked for the women to be given a bump in salary. When his boss refused, he agreed to give part of his next raise to the women who earned less. How great is that!
It is no secret that many women still earn less than men for the same job. And when women seem to infiltrate a profession, suddenly the salaries decline. My friend recently told me that she heard the publisher of my newspaper speak about how more of the newsroom are held by women. My friend pointed out that this is because the salaries in the profession aren't rising with journalism jobs on the decline. It made me sad to think she might be right.
Just last week, American's observed Equal Pay Day, a sobering reminder that a stubborn wage gap persists.
The National Partnership for Women & Families called the wage gap: "pervasive and punishing."
Here are some sad facts: If the gap between the wages of women and men who work full time, year round were eliminated, a mother in the United States would have enough money for 2.4 more years of food, 11 more months of mortgage and utilities payments, 18 more months of rent, 25 more months of child care, or 6,600+ gallons of gas
Women in the European Union were paid 16.4 percent less than men on average in 2013, according to statistics agency Eurostat. United States Census Bureau data indicate women earn 77 cents for every dollar a man earns, based on annual median salaries.
Think of the difference it could make in how women balance their work and family if we closed the wage gap. More mothers could afford to buy a car, hire a babysitter, pay their medical bills.
I wondered long ago why CEOs don't look at their payroll and make sure women and men who work the job earn the same pay.
Members of Congress have reintroduced the Paycheck Fairness Act, supported by President Obama, which would help break harmful patterns of pay discrimination and establish stronger workplace protections for women. How unfortunate it is that we need such legislation! The reality is simple: Two people do the same job, they should be paid the same amount.
Pope Francis gets it. Even Obama seems to get it. Why can't employers get it?
We need to close that wage gap. We need men to care that their wives, sisters and daughters are affected and that in the end, everyone pays the price. We need change and we need it now!
Do you think the pope's words will be enough to get business leaders to re-examine their payrolls? If not, what do you think it will take?